Yes, yes, yes today is Valentine's Day. While I do not discount romance or reject obvious reasons to receive senseless gifts...I have a confession. Preparing for holidays is not my forte'. Every year I promise myself that I'll get an Advent calendar for Christmas, then I don't. I make a mental note to get an Easter Story egg carton thing, then I don't. Wouldn't an American flag made out of jello, blueberries and whipped cream be scrumptious on the 4th of July? Yeah, I wouldn't know because I've never actually made it.
So, while I'm an admitted slacker towards other holidays, even Valentine's Day has a different feeling for me...especially this year. I liken Valentine's Day to having a crazy uncle that no one talks about but feels obligated to invite to dinner once a year. Seriously. All year, the kids chatter about next Christmas, or the parades during the summer, or where their Easter basket might be hidden. Crazy Uncle Cupid barely gets mentioned until Phil looks for his shadow. Every year it sneaks up on me. I'm left scrambling for red paper, scissors, glue, and heart felt sentiments to show Crazy Uncle Cupid that we care about him and promises not to stare at his diaper and quiver of arrows.
Knowing that I'm in charge of Joe's classroom parties, I absolutely had Crazy Uncle Cupid on the brain. P.S. It's a little shocking how many inappropriate items show up on a search for a classroom Valentine's game. Since this is Bella's first year of preschool, I was well aware that she would need the required Disney Princess cards with the teeny, tiny blank space for her name. I was well aware!
Then, snow-a-palooza hit and I lost sight of Crazy Uncle Cupid's impending visit. For a few days, we just literally could not get anywhere and if we could get there, chances are it was closed. By the time I was able to venture out, the shelves were picked over and Valentine's Day stuff was being pushed out of the way by drunken leprechauns carrying giant four leaf clovers. I foolishly thought that the kids might be able to go to school for their parties, so that was my main shopping focus. Joe cards, check. Bella cards, check. Treats for teachers, check. Game supplies, check. It never occurred to me to get stuff for the actual Valentine's day. Maybe I thought I had more time, I don't know.
When the mailman could safely deliver the mail, I saw the tell tale penmanship of Grandma. Not even the worst snow storm in recent history could stop her from getting cards to the grandkids in the mail. As I held the velvety red envelopes in my hand, a trickle of panic ran down my spine. Kinda like if you woke up on Thanksgiving morning only to realize that you forgot to defrost the turkey. I had done NOTHING for Crazy Uncle Cupid's visit. On Saturday, I hastily got out the craft box to have the kids make cards for Grandma. I quickly realized that the decorations I thought we had must not have survived Crazy Uncle Cupid's last visit. Maybe no one would notice...of course they did. Saturday night, the kids whispered to Jay from their cozy beds that they were soooo excited for Valentine's Day....then Joe whispered "What do we do for Valentine's Day, Daddy?" Huh.
Sunday morning, THE morning, Crazy Uncle Cupid's morning, Jay hustled out to Giant Eagle to get last minute decorations and candy. So, with the kids none the wiser, we celebrated Crazy Uncle Cupid's visit with heart shaped foods, pink and red teddy bears, more card making and paper heart cutting, and dinner by candle light. During Bella's prayer tonight she said "Jesus, thank you for the best Valentine's Day ever." Whew! Crisis averted. Plus, the kids still have their school parties to look forward to.
So, I'll take comfort in the knowledge that the point is not the preparation for the day, but how we make the day special in whatever way we can. The kids didn't care that the house hadn't been decorated for days or that we didn't get them elaborate gifts. They were excited to help tape hearts to the wall and put stickers on the windows. The best parts of the day were when they got to blow out the candles on the table and call Grandma to thank her for the cards. It was a good day.
See ya next year Crazy Uncle Cupid! Maybe, by then, I'll be ready for you.